Funding Size:

up to £40,000


12th November

Decision communicated:

27th November

Funding starts

15th December


Over the last 7 years, we have proudly partnered with many incredible organisations and have focused on those who have fought to highlight the injustices of gender inequality and violence against women and girls.


For this year’s grants, we will be shifting our focus to prioritise organisations offering creative solutions to homelessness.


Rough sleeping has increased by 141% in the last decade, the result of welfare reforms, housing shortages, rising rents and budget cuts. And this doesn’t include the hidden homeless.


In response to the coronavirus outbreak, councils in England and Wales were ordered to provide emergency accommodation to rough sleepers. It is estimated that over 90% were offered temporary accommodation. New data reveals that between April and June 2020, there was a 30% reduction in numbers of long-term rough sleepers (those with long histories of living on the streets) vs. the same period in 2019. However, overall homelessness increased by 33%, due to a rise in the number of newly homeless. A large proportion have No Recourse to Public Funds.


The pandemic has by far been the most unsettling experience in homelessness, but it has been a circuit breaker. It has given us all the opportunity to think about doing things differently. We have witnessed the agility of organisations, responding rapidly and fearlessly. We have witnessed organisational boundaries being pushed and broken, and the coming together of services. For the first time, we have seen health, housing, mental health,drug & alcohol, social care and local authorities working together. We must not return to old habits and ways of working. We believe that continuing this multi-agency, multi-sector approach, is key to ending homelessness. For good.


In 2018/2019, an estimated 110,000 young people were homeless or at risk of being homeless. If we do not act now, and focus on prevention, we risk losing another generation to homelessness.

Application process


Please click the ‘Apply’ button to access our online application form. 


If you prefer to access this offline, then you can download the PDF form here and email it to


We want to make our application process as accessible as possible. If you would like to submit a video or audio application then please email us a YouTube, Vimeo or SoundCloud link. You can send it to There are some details, including contact and financial information, that will still need to be submitted using our form. Please download the PDF form and email it to us along with your link and required supporting documents.


Guidelines for submitting via audio or video


Keep it to no more than 5 minutes and make sure you cover the following:


  1. Introduce your organization
  2. Give us a short summary of your project. Please include answers to the following questions:
  • What groups are you targeting (if any)?
  • Who will take part in your project? Will individuals with lived experience be involved?
  • How did you identify the need?
  • What do you think the most pressing issue in homelessness is? How does your project aim to address this?
  • What are the main activities and desired outcomes of your project?
  • What external benefits will your work have (to your wider community, national policy etc.)?
  • Do you have any collaborators? If so, who?
  • How does your work align with the Isla Foundation’s priorities? You can refer to our values here.
  • How will you monitor and evaluate the success of your project? Please let us know if you require additional support with reporting.
  • If you are applying on behalf of another organization, please confirm you will be responsible for the grant and reporting on use of funds.


Here is the list of supporting documents that you will need to upload to your application (if applicable): 


  • Governing document (may also be known as a constitution, trust deed or memorandum and articles of association)

  • Audited annual accounts

  • A recent bank statement (within the last 3 months)

  • Safeguarding policy

  • Inclusion, diversity and equality policy

  • Names and addresses of management committee members (for registered but not constituted organisations)


We want to make sure we select the right grantees, so we have set up a voluntary committee to help us. The committee is formed of experts across a number of professions within the homelessness sector: a journalist, a barrister, an academic, a lived experience consultant and a doctor. We are confident that their combined experience and understanding of the issues at stake will allow us to award funds where the need is greatest and the solution the  most powerful.



Catherine Rowlands


Catherine Rowlands is a barrister specialising in public law, especially social housing and community care, as well as property and other civil litigation. Catherine has extensive expertise in social housing and has appeared in some of the landmark cases in that area. She has conducted many homelessness appeals before both County Court and Court of Appeal. Catherine also advises councils on homelessness and allocations issues.

Dr Caroline Shulman


Dr Caroline Shulman is a clinician and researcher in Homeless and Inclusion Health. She worked for a number of years as a general practitioner providing primary care in a specialist homeless practice and as clinical lead for a multidisciplinary homeless Pathway team based in a hospital. Currently she is acting homeless health clinical advisor at Healthy London Partnership where she has been involved in the pan-London COVID-19 homelessness response.

Daniel Lavelle


Daniel Lavelle is a freelance feature writer from Manchester. He left care at 19 and experienced homelessness for the first time not long after. He has covered topics such as mental health and homelessness for the Guardian, New Statesman and the Independent.In 2017 he received the Guardian’s Hugo Young award for an opinion piece on his experience of homelessness. ‘The Empty Doorway’ won Feature of the Year at the British Journalism Awards 2019 and has been nominated for the same award at the National Press Awards 2020. His first book Down and Out will be published by Wildfire in 2022.

Martin Crosby


In Martin’s own words: “In the past I’ve made some bad choices that left me feeling hopeless; as if there was no light at the end of the tunnel”. When Martin started rebuilding his life, he volunteered as a peer supporter. He worked with clients and community based groups to support people in making positive changes to their lives. Recently, he joined Independent Futures (IF) and, since COVID, has worked alongside commissioners from the council creating clearer pathways for rough sleepers. As part of IF, he helps services in Bristol work more smoothly for complex needs clients, incorporating service users every step of the way.



Dr Gina Netto


As Reader in International and Forced Migration at Heriot Watt University, Gina has a longstanding interest in the circumstances of individuals who have been forcibly displaced and those who have chosen to migrate. Her research has focused on the inequalities they face in accessing a range of public services including housing (homelessness), health and social care. She has worked with organisations including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the EU-funded International Centre for Migration Policy Development. She is currently part of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 and Ethnicity Expert Reference Group and its Labour Market Strategy Group.




What we fund

What you can use the funds for:


  • Capital costs (such as building and land improvements)

  • Staff costs

  • Activities

  • Equipment

  • Other core costs needed to support the project

  • One time events if we understand their wider play in the project’s aim


What you cannot use the funds for:


  • Fundraising events

  • Repayment of debt 

  • Redundancy costs

  • Contribution to reserves

  • Religious events 


We want to fund projects that can create narratives that:


  • Look at the stories emerging from the pandemic, to find out who, or what, needs to be focussed on more
  • Explore new kinds of relationships that have formed in response to COVID-19
  • Show what is most important to communities
  • Help inspire community togetherness after the pandemic
  • Show where new kinds of infrastructure are being created, and why it’s valuable

Who can Apply

We want to drive real, lasting systemic change. That’s why we will be prioritising organisations with a strong focus on campaigning, advocacy and fighting for policy reform.


We believe in co-production, in challenging each other and in sharing knowledge.  COVID has shown us how we react to our lives being managed and controlled. This is a constant reality for those experiencing homelessness. We want to change this “do to” mindset to a “do with”.


We would encourage organisations partnering up to apply, with a lead organisation responsible for the reporting and as a point of contact for the foundation. 


We accept applications from the following organisations:


  • Any organisations addressing the issue of homelessness. This might be tackling the root causes, tackling re-insertion in society or developing a response to the challenges which have arisen as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.


  • Community groups (we would prefer if you can work with another organisation, but if you want to send through an application please note that we will only be able to support a £3,000 grant and we will need a three months’ bank statement as well as social media handles) 


  • Small and medium-sized user-led* organisations (with an annual income of at least £75,000). 


  • Other medium-sized organisations (minimum annual income of £250,000).


We will not accept applications from larger organisations with annual income greater than £10 million.


Location – need to work and use the funds in the UK


*User-led organisations are considered to be those “where the people the organisation represents, or provides a service to, have a majority on the management committee or board, and where there is clear accountability to members and/or service users.’ (Morris, 2006)


Still have questions? Have a look through our FAQs.


If you still have questions after looking through our website, feel free to reach out at

As your questions may be useful to other applicants, we will update our FAQ to reflect your question (anonymously) and our answer. 


Q1. Can we send more than one application? 

R1. Sadly we will only accept one application per organisation even if you are part of a wider consortium on one application and alone for a separate one. 


Q2. What is a user led organisation? 

R2. “A user-led organisation is one where the people the organisation represents, or provides a service to, have a majority on the management committee or board, and where there is clear accountability to members and/or service users.”(Morris, 2006) 


Q3. We have applied to the Isla Foundation for funding before and been rejected, can we re-apply?

A3. You can re-apply as each application can differ and our focuses shift from one year to the next. However, if we have specifically stated that you were not eligible, please write to us before submitting a new application. 


Q4. We are a new organisation with no bank account, can we still apply?

A4. Yes, of course – we all need to start somewhere! The best would be via a larger organisation who will hold the grant OR if you provide evidence of your work with supporting documents. 


Q5. We are a new organisation with a bank account but do not have annual accounts, can we still apply?

A5. Yes! The answer to question 4 applies here as well.


Q6. We are a host organisation applying on behalf of another organisation, can we still apply ourselves?

A6. Yes! Please just indicate this on the form.


Q7. We are interested in a partnership with the Isla foundation and do not require funds, do we still need to fill out the application form?

A7. No! Please send us an email instead at We are always looking for new and exciting partnerships.


Q8. How do I know my organisation type?

A8. Please refer to the below organisation types:

  • Charitable incorporated organisation – A registered charity which is not registered with companies house.
  • Not-for-profit company – Company registered with companies house, limited by guarantee. May also be registered as a charity.
  • Unregistered voluntary or community organisation – Not a registered company or charity but holds a governing document.
  • Registered charity (unincorporated) – Registered charity that is community or volunteer led and not registered with companies house.
  • Community interest company – Registered with companies house and with the CIC (Community Interest Company) regulator.


Q9. We need help filling out the form, who can I contact?

A9. Please email us directly at and we will get back to you as soon as we can!


Q10. Can I start my application and come back to it?

A10. Yes! We know that it often can take a few days and require input from various people, so we’ve made sure to have a ‘save and continue’ function.


Q11. How long does it take to hear whether our application has been successful?

A11. We aim to get back to you within 2 weeks of the application being submitted.


Q12. Can I still apply for a grant if I am a charity with an annual income above  £10M?

A12. We will be prioritising grassroots organisations with annual incomes below  £10M. However, if you are part of a consortium of organisations then we will consider the application providing at least 1 of the partner organisations are within our income guidelines (less than £10M). The smaller organisation/s would need to play an integral role in implementing the project and directly benefit from any funding support awarded.


Q13. What level of reporting do you expect?

A13. While reporting on use of funds is a requirement, we don’t want it to be a barrier to application and we are flexible in how this is done. We understand not everything can be measured in numbers. If quantitive results cannot be provided then there are other ways you can report on your project. Examples of what we accept includes (but is not limited to): written reports, spreadsheets, videos, articles, press coverage, campaign results and client testimonials. We are keen to learn from our grantees so we’d also love to hear about your different approaches, what worked and what didn’t work. Results don’t mean success; learning from you and sharing lessons learned will benefit the sector as a whole. If you need additional support with reporting then reach out to us at



Q14. Do you provide multi-year funding?

A14. No. We are currently only offering one-off grants and cannot commit to funding over several years.


Q15. I have submitted last year’s audited accounts as our most recent ones are still in the process of being finalised. Is this sufficient or do you need our most recent accounts?

A.15 We completely understand that some documents might not be ready in time for the deadline. However, we will need the latest accounts in the event that your project is selected.


Q16. If we are awarded a grant, when do we need to spend the funds by?

A16. The grant period will be 2021 for most expenses however, if some of the remaining budget has not been used by 31st December 2021, they may be used up until April 30th 2022. 


Q17. Your website says it accepts applications from any organisations addressing homelessness, but then specifies restrictions on income and governance. Can you clarify whether organisations need to have a minimum annual income of over £75,000?

A17. You do not have to have a minimum income of over £75,000. The information on the website is there to clarify the different sorts of organisations we accept applications from (i.e. none with an annual income above £10M). 


Q18. Do organisations need to have a majority of beneficiaries on the board?

A18. Our priority will be selecting grantees that are user-led as we think it is really important to include the clients/service users in management decisions. However, we are accepting all organisations tackling the issue of homelessness and will be assessing the applications on a case-by-case basis. 


Q19. Do you request two business references in your application process or two professional references from the person who is applying on behalf of an organisation or charity?

A19. We are looking for two professional references.


Q20. I am looking to apply as an individual for your Immediate Impact Grant to help do a community project. Where do I stand in regards to providing the required supporting documentation and accounts as an individual I don’t have these?

A20. We will require some references in the form from people who are/will be directly involved in the project. This could be someone from the local authority or another official representative from the community. For individuals, we suggest you send over the project outline to us and we can work together to identify who the best references would be. 


Q21. On your website you mention wanting to “fund projects that create narratives that..”. Does my project need to meet all of the criteria listed below?

A21. No, these are just here for guidance. We will be prioritising applications that meet at least one of these criteria, but we will still consider your application even if it does not. We want to remain open to all sorts of different projects.